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Sarcocystis neurona infection in gamma interferon gene knockout (KO) mice: Comparative infectivity of sporocysts in two strains of KO mice, effect of trypsin digestion on merozoite viability, and infectivity of bradyzoites to KO mice and cell culture

Dubey, J.P., Sundar, N., Kwok, O.C.H., Saville, W.J.A.
Veterinary parasitology 2013 v.196 no.1-2 pp. 212
Sarcocystis neurona, bradyzoites, cell culture, gene targeting, hosts, interferon-gamma, merozoites, mice, pathogenicity, proteolysis, protozoal infections, sporozoites, trypsin, viability
The protozoan Sarcocystis neurona is the primary cause of Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). EPM or EPM-like illness has been reported in horses, sea otters, and several other mammals. The gamma interferon gene knockout (KO) mouse is often used as a model to study biology and discovery of new therapies against S. neurona because it is difficult to induce clinical EPM in other hosts, including horses. In the present study, infectivity of three life cycle stages (merozoites, bradyzoites, sporozoites) to KO mice and cell culture was studied. Two strains of KO mice (C57-black, and BALB/c-derived, referred here as black or white) were inoculated orally graded doses of S. neurona sporocysts; 12 sporocysts were infective to both strains of mice and all infected mice died or became ill within 70 days post-inoculation. Although there was no difference in infectivity of sporocysts to the two strains of KO mice, the disease was more severe in black mice. S. neurona bradyzoites were not infectious to KO mice and cell culture. S. neurona merozoites survived 120min incubation in 0.25% trypsin, indicating that trypsin digestion can be used to recover S. neurona from tissues of acutely infected animals.